9:39 am

it’s all bill’s fault

Whatever have I been doing to be so quiet lately, eh? It's Bill Hooker's fault, really. Bill went and posted about an online game where the players take on virtual identities within the game's world. One player had recently switched her avatar's appearance from being a white-skinned blonde to that of a custom-designed black woman. She reported afterward on how differently some of the other players treated her. Which was sort of sadly predictable and, in an environment that includes a greatly expanded range of sentient life forms available to players, surprising.

I followed the links around, and lo! the game included a Mac client. How often does that happen? So I signed on and started playing. Sure enough, a great majority of the avatars people created were some variant on tall-thin-white. I went for short and kind of darkish-reddish, and after getting well on, put my avatar through a sex change. Y'know, as in, "What's it like to be treated as a person instead of a woman?" but without having to pack or bind my tits or starve my hips away.

If chatting with strangers and doing your hair and nails was all that a player did, it wouldn't be much fun for me, but as I found out pretty quickly, you can make stuff. And then you can script the stuff to do all sorts of things.

So I've been playing a week and a half now, mostly exploring and building. I made a canoe, and butchered several scripts getting it to work (for a day it sported an ejection seat that sent the canoe one direction and my avatar in another; I never did find all the canoes I lost that way.), and have found it an excellent way of getting around. The game world itself is huge; while there's no shortage of the sort of places one finds in the really cheap commercial sections of town, there's also strange and fantastic buildings, art, toys, and quiet meadows, forests, seas and lakes and streams... some areas have gone in for creatively anachronistic role-play to one degree or another, others are less, um, classifiable. And that's just from the little I've explored so far.

My avatar has himself morphed from being a scruffy beachcomber bashing on a canoe to a Dread Pirate. Seriously. Well, not so seriously. Seriously tongue-in-cheek, perhaps. No one dreads him, that's for sure, he's still pretty short. But yesterday he came across a ready-made Pirate Suit, so perhaps he'll get more piratical respect.


playing games and listening to The Lucky One from the album "New Favorite" by Alison Krauss & Union Station

tagged: , | 12 Comments


  1. posted March 8, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    Do not blame me! Nola, if you become a “Second Life widow” it’s not my fault! There’s no way P, High Priestess of Computer Voodoo, didn’t already know about MMORPGs.

    I’m innocent, I tell you, innocent! (Well, of this particular charge.)

  2. posted March 8, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Ha! As though she’d believe you. Hey, wanna come play pirates with me?

  3. posted March 8, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    See, I’m scared to death of even logging into that place. I know I’d love it, and poor Bill would be a widower in no time.

  4. posted March 8, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    I’m tempted, P, but I daren’t. Honest, it would be the death of me. I had to quit Metafilter (and a private spin-off), because it just wasn’t healthy for me.

  5. posted March 9, 2006 at 8:26 am

    Aw, c’mon! I know where you can get your own Pirate Suits! And I have a ship and everything!

    And if you both did it, it be like one of those togetherness-relationship-empowerment things. :)

  6. posted March 10, 2006 at 8:44 am

    And if you both did it, it be like one of those togetherness-relationship-empowerment things. :)

    I knew you’d say that. You’re evil. :-P

  7. posted March 10, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    Did I mention that the stuff you can build is scriptable?

  8. posted March 21, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Let’s see, nearly two weeks and pericat hasn’t updated or commented. Should I take that as evidence that I’m right,
    and MMORPGs : time :: black holes : light?

  9. posted March 22, 2006 at 4:36 pm

    Ah, I suck pretty hard, it’s true. But I’m having so much fun! I was planning to resurface by the weekend, though. Or I could take a leaf from your book and go on hiatus…

  10. posted March 31, 2006 at 4:46 am

    Sounds like a lot of fun, but Bill has a point about black holes. I’m sure if you look long enough you’ll find that games like that are the source of the Bermuda Traingle. That’s where the pirate suit disapeared to!

  11. posted April 2, 2006 at 9:50 am

    There are several games I have that I won’t play but once in a great while, as they are truly black holes. Time spent with them feels gone, stolen, like time spent in the hospital or on narcotics. At least with this one, I feel like I’ve done things I wanted to do & enjoyed doing.

  12. posted April 7, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    I have always been dealing with this Game-Syndrome .. and I am happy with it. Sometimes you are so better off in the virtual world rather than in the real one ;)